FK Sarajevo manager Husref Musemic has warned Celtic that he’ll play as much quality as he can on Wednesday night.
Celtic lead 3-1 from the first leg of this first round Champions League qualification tie. It was a fine victory in Bosnia for the Celts too. Goals from Mikey Johnston, Odsonne Edouard, and Scott Sinclair put the Hoops into an almighty position ahead of the second leg at Celtic Park.
It was a positive result for the Hoops, but attentions now turn to the second leg at Parkhead. Sarajevo will be looking to reduce the deficit in any way they can, but it’s clear to most that the tie is effectively over.
That hasn’t stopped Musemic from geeing up his players ahead of the trip, however. Speaking to Bosnian outlet Sportsport, the Sarajevo boss sent a warning Celtic’s way.
“Another big game, we want to play better, if possible, at the level of the first half (in the first leg). Teams like Celtic penalize every mistake and so it was. We received naive goals, I hope we learned something, especially with the level of the first half.
“As far as the players are concerned, everyone who was at the disposal of the first match will be available. We are going to play quality, and what will the result be? I don’t know. On Sunday we are starting the Championship, these things require a lot of effort because we want to start well.”
Sarajevo manager proves camp is upbeat
We shouldn’t expect to face a side deflated from their first-leg defeat on Wednesday. It’s clear that Sarajevo knew they were underdogs, and their confidence levels appear to remain high ahead of the second leg this week.
It’s interesting to also hear Musemic talk about the league championship starting up this weekend for his side too. Despite the fact he insists his big players will play at Parkhead, you have to wonder how much he’ll want to risk them. They open their campaign on Sunday against Zrinjski. Zrinjski were the only Bosnian team to beat Sarajevo away from home last season. Musemic will be aware of that.
Regardless, Neil Lennon will be confident of a good, stylish performance to sign off in this first qualifier. Celtic have performed extremely well throughout pre-season, and they’re getting players back from injury at a key stage too.
A few goals and a clean sheet would provide a nice springboard into the second qualifying round vs Shkendija or Nomme Kalju. Even with Sarajevo in confident spirits, it shouldn’t mean much if we play to our top standard.
Celtic’s domestic campaign doesn’t start for another two weeks on Saturday. A home clash against St Johnstone opens up our campaign, by which time we’ll have already faced our second qualifying round opponents in both legs.
So there’s still a bit of time until we can switch our attention to domestic matters. In the meantime, however, let’s hope the Hoops notch a few goals in their first competitive game back at Celtic Park.